Bronchial asthma is a disease that affects the lungs. It’s a chronic condition a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes periodic "attacks" of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Asthma can be life-threatening if not treated on time.
Excess growth of mast cells, eosinophils, and T lymphocytes is found in bronchial asthma.
Mast cells are the allergy-causing cells that release chemicals like histamine, a substance that causes nasal stuffiness and running nose in cold or hay fever, constriction of airways and itchy areas in skin allergy.
Whenever a person breathes normally, muscles around the airways relax letting air move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, three things happen:
Triggers can be different for each person. Some common triggers include:
Some of the common symptoms that people have are :
1. Shortness of breath – a person feeling shortness of breath while doing any physical activity or in severe condition even at rest.
2. Wheezing – a typical sound while breathing.
3. Coughing especially at night.
4. Tightness of chest.
A person may have different symptoms and signs at different times with chronic asthma. Also, symptoms change between asthma attacks.
Depending on the signs and symptoms, doctor may ask to do some tests to measure lung function and to rule out other possible conditions, such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The lung function tests performed to determine the quantity of air moving in and out while breathing are –
1. PEAK FLOW TESTING – It’s a simple device that measures the breathing capacity of the patient. The lower peak flow readings indicate some abnormality in functioning of lungs.
2. SPIROMETRY - This test gives detailed assessment of the breathing capacity and estimates the narrowing of bronchial tubes by checking how much air a person can exhale after a deep breath.
3. CHEST XRAY - Xray is done to rule out possibilities of any respiratory infection other than bronchial asthma.
4. BLOOD TESTS - In some selected patients blood test is recommended and a specific test IGE level is also checked.
Treatment for Bronchial Asthma are :
1. Use of inhalers – such as MDI - metered-dose inhaler, DPI – dry powder inhaler, Nebulizer.
2. Medicines of inhalation therapy – Bronchodilators and Inhaled corticosteroids. Steroid content used in inhalers are in less quantity, having no side effects.
Medicines used for the treatment are Montelukast, Theophylline, Doxophylline and Mucolytics.
Dr. Rajendra Kesarwani, chest physician , Director Amey Hospital has shared some of his experiences and valuable information about inhalers.
According to him inhalers are the main treatment for asthma. Right dose of inhalers taken in a correct way are the most effective way of treating and controlling bronchial asthma. The prescribed medicine directly reaches the lungs and helps in controlling the infection at the earliest.
Patients using inhaler need to follow the right technique / steps which are available on various portals, you tube channels to get the maximum benefits.
Many people have misconceptions about inhalers like
1) They may get addicted to inhaler.
2) They said medicines were more effective than inhalers.
3) They didn’t know how to use inhalers.
Dr. Rajendra Kesarwani sir cleared out all the misconceptions by saying that the inhalers were more effective and medicines directly reached the lungs thereby giving more effective treatment. They were non addictive also.
Therefore inhalers were used to control bronchial asthma.
Further he discussed about non pharmacological treatment to be followed by the patients to avoid bronchial asthma which are controlling the factors in environment like fumes, smoke from incense sticks, mosquito coils, perfumes, pets, dusty atmosphere.
Stress control is another important aspect to be considered and should be controlled by performing meditation, yoga, relaxing techniques.
To increase lung capacity, simple breathing exercises can be performed like blowing out the candles, balloons, deep breathing techniques which helps in controlling asthma.
Vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae and influenza virus are available which provides protection against infections caused due to these organisms.
As said prevention is always better than cure. The action taken against the attack will help in controlling asthma and they include
1. Knowing the trigger factors and staying away from them.
2. Following doctor’s instructions and taking medications on time.
3. Having the right knowledge about the treatment to be taken
4. Getting vaccinated at the right time under doctor’s guidance.
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